In reviewing BP’s latest Statistic Review of World Energy, the big story for world oil last year was obvious: the USA’s third straight record-breaking increase in average annual production. Just over 75% of the net increase in world oil production during 2014 came from the USA; add in Canada and 90% of the total increase came from North America. Throw in Brazil’s first significant increase in three years and you have all the world’s net gain in world oil production accounted for by three non-OPEC players. Production from all other producers combined was flat. So the question for 2015 is straightforward: will we see a repeat of those gains…and the flat-liners?
Crude oil prices were little changed last week, with New York futures trading around $60 a barrel and in London around $63. As has been the case for several weeks, the global oversupply of crude, the Greek debt crisis, and China’s weak economy have kept downward pressure on the markets. Trader hopes that the summer driving season will soon push up the demand for gasoline and expectations of an economic rebound continue to support oil prices. The uncertainties of the Iranian nuclear negotiations cut both ways with an agreement likely leading to a large increase in available crude, while failure of the talks would lead to increased tensions or worse in the Middle East.
After the usual amount of volatility that we have seen for the last three months New York oil futures closed at $59.61 per barrel on Friday, down 35 cents for the week. London futures, which have been drifting generally downwards since the beginning of May, closed at $63.02, down $1.24 for the week and about $4 a barrel in the last ten days. If the major energy watchers are correct, the oil markets remain oversupplied by about 1 or 2 million b/d, which is setting the trend, but with numerous factors ranging from the Greek debt crisis to the US rig count influencing trader decisions, oil prices continue to be volatile with the markets reacting to the day’s news.
For the last two months Brent crude has been trading in a $7-8 range between $62 and $69 a barrel. New York futures have been trading about $6-7 below Brent. Much of the volatility has come in sudden jumps as the markets interpreted and reacted to news relating to the oil market. Many traders seem to be convinced that prices are still too low and that one day there will be a rebound into triple digits despite market fundamentals – oversupply of crude and generally weak economic conditions – that seem to say that prices have rebounded too much from the lows seen last winter.
By Art Berman. Reprinted from ArtBerman.com World oil demand increased by 1.1 million barrels per day in February. This is a potentially important data point that suggests a crude oil price recovery sooner than later. It is also important because it further supports the view that a production surplus and not weak demand is the main cause for the […]
By Robert L. Hirsch. The recent world oil supply/price decline situation looks very much like what happened in 1985-86, when the Saudis dramatically increased oil production, causing world oil prices to crater. That Saudi action was the result of their having acted as swing producer in OPEC, which under those circumstances caused a progressive loss […]
A National Energy Program – A White Paper on Achieving Energy Independence and National Transformation. By Lawrence Klaus. Revised and Updated, January 2015. In a recent post, we marked the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Oil Embargo–an event that has had profound economic and geopolitical aftershocks for the United States. The embargo itself lasted […]